NWC Calls for Release of Binance Compliance Officer Detained in Nigeria

Published on April 25, 2024

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NWC Calls for Release of Binance Compliance Officer Detained in Nigeria

WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 25, 2024 — Today, National Whistleblower Center (NWC) sent a letter to Chris W. Marsh, Division Chief, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs, asking that the United States use its best efforts to secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan, a compliance officer for Binance currently detained in Nigeria.

Gambaryan, an American citizen, has been detained by the Nigerian government since February 25, 2024 when he traveled to meet with Nigerian officials in his role as the head of financial crime compliance for Binance. The Nigerian government has charged Gambaryan for Binance’s illegal activity in the country. However, Gambaryan was not a decision-maker at Binance and cooperated with authorities in both the United States and Nigeria prior to his detention.

“Releasing Mr. Gambaryan is especially important given the serious crimes committed by Binance and the absolute necessity of obtaining cooperation from insiders such as Mr. Gambaryan to hold such companies as Binance responsible,” writes Stephen M. Kohn, Chairman of NWC. “The ability of the United States to the obtain cooperation of insiders like Mr. Gambaryan is recognized in the U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption as ‘a core national security interest of the United States,’ especially within the cryptocurrency industry where the illegal conduct is largely committed overseas and more difficult to detect.”

While Mr. Gambaryan has no direct connection to National Whistleblower Center, the detention of Mr. Gambaryan runs contrary to National Whistleblower Center’s mission of protecting and supporting whistleblowers. The punishment of employees who are not decision-makers and who cooperate with authorities creates a chilling effect upon employees, who might otherwise seek to expose wrongdoing.

Siri Nelson, Executive Director of NWC, says that: “Whistleblower protections are a human right. NWC fights for whistleblowers worldwide and understands that global protections for whistleblowers are critical to U.S. security issues and economic stability. Our recognition of the U.S. Strategy to Countering Corruption is the motivation for our request that Mr. Gambaryan be released, and we call on the U.S. government to act on its commitment to fight corruption by intervening when whistleblowers are detained or otherwise retaliated against – especially in instances where they have assisted in successful investigations that disrupted massive transnational frauds like the orchestrated by Binance.”

Tigran Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki Gambaryan has a change.org petition calling on the U.S. government to push for Gambaryan’s release: https://www.change.org/p/help-bring-former-us-federal-agent-tigran-gambaryan-home-from-unjust-detention-in-nigeria. 

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